Being director of Senior Programs was a privilege
I have recently had the privilege of serving as the Colorado Mountain College director of Senior Programs of Garfield County.Why has it been a privilege?• Because I have had the opportunity to meet and know at least 500 of the most impressive people in this county. These are the people who survived the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl; people who fought in the most monumental wars of our time; people who didn’t have the luxuries of running water and cars during part of their lives; people who still believe in saying the Pledge and a prayer before each meal; people who have experienced tragedy during their lives but continue on with courage; and people who have great respect for others. • Because I ran a program that provided more than 19,300 hot and nutritious meals during the past year through cooperation with Valley View Hospital in the east part of Garfield County and the Rifle Senior Center in the west.• Because during the past year, I was part of a program that provided 24,447 critical rides to people who are not able to drive any longer. This specialized, demand-responsive program known as the Traveler transports people to medical appointments, various types of therapy, to grocery stores, and to various lunches. • Because this program helps people stay in their homes and treats them with the dignity they deserve.• Because the program taught participants how to stay healthy and independent as long as possible.• Because the organization provided volunteer opportunities that leverage seniors’ skills and wisdom.• Because I believe that the health of a community is displayed by the way it treats it children and its elders. Senior Programs has strived to honor the people responsible for shaping the past and current centuries. I urge this community to do even more to support the people who have built this country and these beautiful communities we all enjoy. Just look at our neighbors. Pitkin and Eagle Counties provide even more for their seniors. The residents of Garfield County have the ability to do the same.It is with sadness that I am leaving the people here in Garfield County, but I will continue to work on the state level to make sure that more is provided for our aging population. And, I’m going to a caring place, where one of my main goals with Habitat For Humanity will be to build more affordable homes for this great generation. I end with one of my favorite quotes by George Washington Carver: “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” How true, how true. Gwen StephensonGlenwood Springs Gwen Stephenson served as the Colorado Mountain College director of Senior Programs of Garfield County for almost two years. She will now serve as the executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Northern Colorado.
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